Horizon Europe : The EU Research & Innovation Programme 2021-2027
Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of EUR95.5 billion. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.
It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area. Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.
Horizon Europe Structure
Horizon Europe consists of three pillars and horizontal actions.
Excellent Science aims to bring and keep science in Europe at the highest level. Also, the actions under this pillar contribute to making Europe an attractive location for the world’s best researchers. Europe wants to attract and develop research talent and to provide access to the best research infrastructures.
Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness focuses on the major challenges that the EU and the world are facing. These are listed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among other things.
Innovative Europe focuses on innovations that strengthen the competitiveness of the European Union.
To strengthen the European Research Area (ERA), Horizon Europe uses various instruments via the horizontal pillar Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area. Examples of these instruments are Teaming, Twinning and European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).
European Defence Fund : Exclusive focus on defence research and development
Euratom Research and Training Programme : Focus on nuclear fusion and fisson research and Training.
- Pillar 1
Pillar 1 : Excellent Science
- European Research Council (ERC)
Funding frontier research designed and driven by the best researchers in Europe. The ERC grants are intended to fund excellent science and are open for researchers at different career stages. The program consists of 5 different grants :
- Proof of Concept
- Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
The program funds individual fellowships and supports mobility of researchers internationally.
- Research Infrastructure (RI)
Funding new world-class research infrastructures. The work programme supports research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their field.
- Pillar 2
Pillar 2 : Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness
- Health throughout the life course
- Non-communicable and rare diseases
- Tools, technologies and digital solutions for health and care, including personalised medicine
- Environmental and social health determinants
- Infectious diseases, including poverty-related and neglected disease
- Health care systems
2. Culture, Creativity & Society
- Democracy and Governance
- Social and economic transformations
- Culture, cultural heritage and creativity
3. Civil Security for Society
- Disater-resilient societies
- Protection and Security
4. Digital, Industry and Space
- Manufacturing technologies
- Advanced materials
- Next generation internet
- Circular industries
- Space, including Earth Observation
- Emerging enabling technologies
- Key digital technologies
- including quantum technologies
- Artificial Intelligence and robotics
- Advanced computing and Big Data
- Low-carbon and clean industry
- Emerging enabling technologies
5. Climate, Energy and Mobility
- Climate science and solutions
- Energy systems and grids
- Communities and cities
- Industrial competitiveness in transport
- Smart mobility
- Energy supply
- Buildings and industrial facilities in energy transition
- Clean, safe and accessible transport and mobility
- Energy storage
6. Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
- Environmental observation
- Agriculture, forestry and rural areas
- Circular systems
- Food systems
- Biodiversity and natural resources
- Seas, oceans and inland waters
- Bio-based innovation systems in the EU
Supporting policymakers, both European and national, with independent scientific evidence and support.
- Pillar 3
Pillar 3 : Innovative Europe
- European Innovation Council (EIC)
Focus on market-creating innovation and SME growth.
- EIC Pathfinder supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. It welcomes the high-risk / high gain and interdisciplinary cutting-edge science collaborations that underpin technological breakthroughs.
- EIC Accelerator supports individual SMEs, in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations.
- EIC Transition funds innovation activities that go beyond the experimental proof of principle in laboratory to support the maturation and validation of the novel technology in the lab and in relevant application environments, and the development of a business case and model towards the innovation’s future commercialisation.
- European Innovation Ecosystems
Connecting with regional and national actors to improve the overall innovation ecosystem across Europe. Ecosystems should become more connected and efficient.
- European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
Focusing on integrating research, higher education, business and entrepreneurship. EIT is an independent EU body that supports entrepreneurial talent and innovative ideas through specific calls for proposals.
- Horizontal Actions
Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area
- Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence
Encouraging teaming & twinning, cooperation in science and technology (COST), ERA chairs continue to bring excellence to institutions in Widening countries with potential for research excellence, support to NCPs, brain circulation and excellence initiatives. It includes two new additions, the Hop On Facility and the Excellence Hubs.
- Roforming and enhancing the European R&I system
Building scientific evidence & foresight, continuation of the Horizon Policy Support Facility, promoting Open Science, attractive researcher careers, citizen science, Responsible Research & Innovation, and gender equality.
- EU Missions
EU Missions : Concrete solutions for our greatest challenges
EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver concrete results by 2030. They support Commission priorities, such as the European Green Deal, Europe fit for the Digital Age, Beating Cancer and the New European Bauhaus.
Each mission will operate as a portfolio of actions – such as research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives – to achieve a measurable goal that could not be achieved through individual actions.
The 5 EU Missions
1. Adaptation to Climate Change Mission
Support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030
2. Cancer Mission
Working with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better
3. Restore our Oceans and Waters Mission
Cleaning marine and fresh waters, restoring degraded ecosystems and habitats, decarbonising the blue economy by 2030 in order to sustainably harness the essential goods and services they provide
4. Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission
Support, promote and showcase 100 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030, and turn these cities into innovation hubs for all cities, benefiting quality of life and sustainability in Europe.
5. Soil Deal for Europe Mission
Caring for Soil is Caring for Life : 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030
HORIZON EUROPE – The most ambitious EU Research & Innovation programme ever
An ambitious budget to find solutions to our main challenges
Horizon Europe has a budget of EUR 95.5 billion for the period from 2021-2027. This includes EUR 5.4 billion from the Next Generation EU instrument, particularly to support the green and digital recovery from the COVID crisis.
Horizon Europe is complemented by the Euratom 2021-2025 research and training programme. This programme has a budget of EUR 1.4 billion over the period 2021-2025, bringing the total budget available for both programmes to EUR 96.9 billion.
The EU budget has been significantly rising over time from EUR 3,271 million in FP1 to EUR 96,899 million today for Horizon Europe and Euratom. This illustrates the clear ambition of the EU for its main R&I funding instrument and increases relevance of science and technology in society to address our challenges.
How will the budget be invested?
The budget will be used to support R&I across the EU and Associated Countries, being paid directly to researchers, innovators and research institutions in the Members States and Associated Countries.
The Horizon Europe Regulation establishes a range of targets with respect to the use of the budget :
- 35% of the budget will contribute to climate objectives
- there will be a substantial increase of spending in main digital research and innovation activities compared to Horizon 2020.
- 70% of the budget of the European Innovation Council will be allocated to small and medium size enterprises.
- At least 3.3% of the budget will be committed to the programme part widening participation and spreading excellence.
- Investments in Space should also be commensurate with those under Horizon 2020
- the participation of industry in the actions should be supported at levels at least commensurate with those under Horizon 2020.
- The budget should contribute to the overall ambition of providing 7.5% of annual spending under the MFF to biodiversity objectives in 2024 and 10% of annual spending under the MFF to biodiversity objectives in 2026 and 2027.
Legal entities from associated countries can participate under equivalent conditions as legal entities from the EU Member States, unless specific limitations or conditions are laid down in the work programme and/or call/topic text.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Faroe Islands
- North Macedonia
Thrid Countries covered by the transitional arrangement
Until association agreements start producing legal effects either through provisional application or their entry into force, the transitional arrangement set out in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022 is applicable with regard to the following countries and legal entities established in these countries, with which association negotiations are being processed or where association is imminent
- Morocco (applicable for the entire Programme)
- New-Zealand (applicable for Pillar II as from the Work Programmes 2023 onwards, including for the institutionalised European partnerships)
- United Kingdom (applicable for the entire Programme)
More informations :
Strategic Plan 2021-2024
Key Strategic Orientations for Research & Innovation
In response to the political priorities and recovery plan of the Union, the following four key strategic orientations for EU research and innovation have been defined for the period 2021-2024 :
- Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations
- A competitive and secure data-economy
- Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people
- Secure and cybersecure digital technology
- High quality digital services for all
- Restoring Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and managing sustainably natural resources to ensure food security and a clean and healthy environment
- Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in waters
- Clean and healthy air, water and soil
- Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea
- Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Smart and sustainable transport
- Circular and clean economy
- Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society, prepared and responsive to threats and disasters, addressing inequalities and providing high-quality health care, and empowering all citizens to act in the green and digital transitions
- A resilient EU prepared for emerging threats
- A secure, open and democratic EU society
- Good health and high-quality accessible healthcare
- Inclusive growth and new job opportunities
Horizon Europe work programmes
Horizon Europe supports research and innovation especially through work programmes , which set out
funding opportunities for research and innovation activities.
- The main work programme
- Marie Skłodowska Curie actions and research infrastructures (Pillar I)
- all clusters (Pillar II)
- European innovation ecosystems (Pillar III)
- Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area part (Horizontal Actions)
- Other work programmes
- European Research Council (ERC)
- Joint Research Centre (JRC)
- European Innovation Council (EIC)
Horizon Europe Main Work Programme 2023-2024
- General introduction
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
- Research Infrastructures
- Culture, creativity and inclusive society
- Civil Security for Society
- Digital, Industry and Space
- Climate, Energy and Mobility
- Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
- European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE)
- Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area
- General Annexes
Horizon Europe Main Work Programme 2021-2022
- General introduction v4.0
- Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions v2.0
- Research Infrastructures v4.0
- Health v4.0
- Culture, creativity and inclusive society v3.0
- Civil Security for Society v3.0
- Digital, Industry and Space v5.0
- Climate, Energy and Mobility v4.0
- Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment v3.0
- European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) v2.0
- Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area v3.0
- Missions v3.0
- General Annexes v2.0
Other Work Programmes and Documents
The work programmes for Horizon Europe are available to view and download on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
HE Guide & Manual
These General Annexes set out the general conditions applicable to calls and topics for grants and other forms of funding under the Horizon Europe main work programme. They also describe the evaluation and award procedures and other criteria for Horizon Europe funding.
In particular, the General Annexes outline the:
- admissibility and eligibility conditions, and the criteria for financial and operational capacity and exclusion (Annexes A-C);
- award criteria, mandatory documents and evaluation procedure (Annexes D-F);
- legal and financial set-up of the grant agreements (Annex G);
- –specific conditions applying to actions which include pre-commercial procurement or procurement of innovative solutions (Annex H).
It outlines the detailed guidance on the structure, budget and political priorities of Horizon Europe.
The online manual outlines the procedures to register and submit applications online via the EU Funding & Tenders Portal and recommendations on preparing the application.
The AGA contains detailed annotations on all the provisions in the grant agreement that must be signed to obtain the grant.
This document aims to assist applicants/beneficiaries in drawing up a consortium agreement. Following model consortium agreements are the most widespread model Consortium Agreement in Horizon projects.